Have You Seen 'War Room'? [D&D needs a digital app like this]

So, just today, Privateer Press just announced a new digital app for their WARMACHINE/HORDES game, called WAR ROOM. I think it's worth the time of every person with an interest in DnDNext to watch the video:

privateerpress.com/warroom

So ... yeah, you see that app? DnDNext needs an app like that if it wants to be successful. Holy heck, we can't even get WotC to PDF their manuals, and here's an example of a company going well beyond that in a way that is functional, usable, and actually enchances game play.

I've written down some thoughts about what I think such an app for D&D might look like over at my blog. I'd love to hear what you all think. Does D&D need a WAR ROOM?
Let's Get Rid Of Stat Scores! Blogging About D&D 5E with Writer@Large
That's... not going to happen. It's too fantastic for WotC to provide us with. Don't get your hopes up. Don't... get... your... hop-OMG I WANT THAT NAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
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Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
Ideas for 5E
Very nice. It would require WotC rework their entire model though. A wargame company can do this because they make their money on selling minatures, the rule book is break even so they don't care about losing sales. To do this, WotC would have to move to a DDI and supplment based model, where they make their money selling DDI and entirely optional expansions like adventures and minatures.

I don't see it happening. I do expect we will get some smart phone application for simple stuff at some point though, hopefully free to everybody with DDI.

Very nice. It would require WotC rework their entire model though. A wargame company can do this because they make their money on selling minatures, the rule book is break even so they don't care about losing sales. To do this, WotC would have to move to a DDI and supplment based model, where they make their money selling DDI and entirely optional expansions like adventures and minatures.

I don't see it happening. I do expect we will get some smart phone application for simple stuff at some point though, hopefully free to everybody with DDI.




Actually, they aren't selling any of the rules books at all. In Warmachine, each unit comes with a card, which has their stats and damage track on there. All the app is doing is providing those (which are solid separate as well as with the model already) in a ready-to-go format.

I'm not sure what WotC COULD do that would be similar. Probably a mobile app linked with D&DI, or maybe a PDF purchase, which acts as a character builder and has quick character summaries. Maybe a mobile Rules Compedium.
Very nice. It would require WotC rework their entire model though. A wargame company can do this because they make their money on selling minatures, the rule book is break even so they don't care about losing sales. To do this, WotC would have to move to a DDI and supplment based model, where they make their money selling DDI and entirely optional expansions like adventures and minatures.

I don't see it happening. I do expect we will get some smart phone application for simple stuff at some point though, hopefully free to everybody with DDI.




Actually, they aren't selling any of the rules books at all. In Warmachine, each unit comes with a card, which has their stats and damage track on there. All the app is doing is providing those (which are solid separate as well as with the model already) in a ready-to-go format.

I'm not sure what WotC COULD do that would be similar. Probably a mobile app linked with D&DI, or maybe a PDF purchase, which acts as a character builder and has quick character summaries. Maybe a mobile Rules Compedium.




An app that is linked to DDI and can read ".ddn" files (which are sold together with the .pdf). You access everything in the rule books you bought, can download and implement erratas easily, have the possibility to have a character sheet on your mobile and a quick battle interface. The DM has a mobile with initiative, monster stats pop up when it's their turn, there's a dice roller and you can click on an attack to roll the attack roll and damage. Then you can click on a player's name to confront the result to their defense automatically and a big green HIT or red MISS appears and vanishes after a second. The characters' damage is recorded and bloodied / death / conditions have an icon or quick animation so that you notice them. Different smartphones can connect to share the same battle stats so that everyone is on the same page. The app can record conditional modifiers, bonuses, durations for you easily. You can pass and the next in the initiative pops up. You can also allow the app to read the names aloud if you want. The app is linked to monster builder and building an encounter on the fly is crazy easy. It can store encounters easily in a codified and compressed format, and you can load them, store them in the cloud, transfer them, anything. You can link an encounter to a music playlist that is played during the fight. If the tactical combat is implemented, you can prepare maps in advance and use the app to track movements easily, with a pen-and-paper like interface. Your players can follow on their own phones if they want to. The app contains all information about DCs and out-of-combat skills. A quick search can find the description of a spell or ability on the spot in the .ddn manuals you have stored.

Yeah, that would be pretty crazy, but I can imagine it working and it would be cool to have as a DM. The player connection and map parts are... meh, but I think somebody will like those.

I would love to have a phone app that allows me to build encounters easily, store players' sheets, auto roll dice and just state "HIT", "MISS", "13 DAMAGES", I would love the app to calculate how much health is left for the PCs so that I don't have to double check on that one player's math, I would love the app to rotate initiative easily, even to roll initiative at the start of the combat... Yeah, it would be the coolest thing ever. No micromanagement when I'm mastering. Awesomesauce.
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Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
Ideas for 5E
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Lets keep this on topic in regards to what you guys would like to see in an app like this, no need to get into discussion about Wizards of the Coast as a whole, and whether they are trustworthy or not.  Thanks guys.
That was an awesome video. Thanks for the link, WriterAtLarge.

Hope WotC produces something similar to this for 5E. I've got two smartphone--equipped players in my 3.5 Realms game that would jump all over an all-inclusive 5E application if I told them we were switching to 5E.
Lets keep this on topic in regards to what you guys would like to see in an app like this,


Here's one part of my vision for such an app:

An app that works over Bluetooth / local WiFi / NFC (whichever) that allows the DM to maintain initiative, track turns, and track statuses. The core "visual" is an initiative list with each player's name in a bar that can also display initative number, status (stunned, bloodied, etc.), maybe some other basic info. As players take their turns, the DM can drag or swipe to send them to the bottom of the order. Because of the Bluetooth connection, all players can see this order and follow along and know when their turn is near.

Tapping on a PC or NPC in the app pulls up a "card" for them -- basic combat scores, list of statuses, etc. Tapping on things would bring up that rule; so if a PC a Slowed, for example, they can tap on their character and be told exactly what Slowed means.

Ideally, the app could also allow players to track damage in the app, as well as enter other stat-boosting effects.


The simple, bare bones model I'd like is just a character sheet that I could touch and have it roll dice and add modifiers and such. There's apps that do character sheets and apps that roll dice, but I've yet to see one that does both.

In a perfect world, I'd love to see an app that works something like Neverwinter Nights (DM tools, single player, multi player, module/campaign builder) meets Final Fantasy Tactics (turn based RPG ftw). Also I'd like a 'instant action' option where I can quickly put together a party and fight a level appropriate encounter. You know, something do do while waiting at the DMV. ;)
As much as I love my devices, dice rolling is something I just can't let the machine do for me if I'm sitting at the table. Tracking things, record-keeping, storytelling, I'm down with all that; but dice need to be rolled, man!
I admit that app looks really awesome and yeah, I think WOTC could really deliver some sort of quality APP. I am a iPad user and think such an app would work really well. I would love to open an app, set my iPad up on my gaming table during sessions, and then use it to help move the game along.

I would not want to replace die rolling, part of the live-RPG aspect is the rolling of dice.   
Sorry but I disagree. I think WotC should create D&D that's easy and fun to run and play without using computers. I spend enough time with computers without having to use them when playing or planning rpg's. It's just not the dice rolling, it's everything in a rpg I want to do without computers.
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I'd love to see this!

One cool aspect is that it would be fairly easy to incorporate 'skins' allowing players to choose which default look they'd like. As sad as it is, art style seems to be a major source of dispute among gamers. A digital app with a number of visual skins would easily solve that problem. 
Wow, I would love to see an app like this for D&D!  In place of (or in addtion to) a character builder and compendium, having an app that players and DMs can use at the table to look up rules, mangae chaacters, aplpy conditions, and (if desired) roll e-dice with modifiers pre-set would be awesome.  Given the modular structure, a tool like this would be very useful if you can toggle modules on or off as the campaign dictates.  I think the idea of having various skins (that reflect the style of various editions) would be very cool.

Unfortunately, WotC isn't exactly on the cutting edge when it comes to digital products.  Alas, it probably won't happen.

I love D&D more than I could ever love a human child.